In 2015 Google announced that mobile searches had surpassed desktop searches. This had been a long time coming, Google had been dropping hints for years about the importance of mobile SEO. Then in 2017 Google introduced the world to the mobile-first index.
The mobile-first index flipped search on its head, switching its focus from desktop-first to mobile-first. This was the final stroke in making the web a mobile-first space. Since then, mobile web use has grown, making it even more dominant, increasing its importance.
So, what can you do to ensure your website is ready for a mobile dominated web?
How Google deals with mobile search
Google favours mobile search and mobile websites over desktop. This doesn’t mean they will present your mobile website to desktop users, but it does mean they will look at the content on your mobile site over your desktop site. This is extremely important for those who have separate URLs for their mobile and desktop websites.
It is vital that you make sure the content across both your desktop and mobile website is the same. Google will crawl your mobile site and favour the content on it over its desktop equivalent. This means that your mobile site has far greater power in determining your overall rankings.
Of course, if your content is already the same you would have seen no difference from the Mobile-First Index update. However, UX is now an even more important factor in your search rankings, so, getting that right is vital.
How to make your website mobile-friendly
There are many different elements to making your website mobile-friendly. From a Web Development, content, and SEO perspective there are a lot of different routes you can take to make your website better optimised for search. Here are some of those methods.
Optimising responsive design for search
Responsiveness is a common feature found on most of the popular web platforms. They will automatically convert your desktop website into a mobile version when visited by a mobile user. Does this mean it is automatically mobile friendly? No. There is a lot more to do to than taking the existing design and shrinking it to make the website right for mobile.
You will still need to optimise the design for mobile user experience. This includes ensuring images and text have scaled correctly, cleaner navigation, and more.
Mobile site performance
Load speeds are a major factor in your rankings. If your page takes too long to load on a mobile 4G connection you could be losing a lot of potential leads, increasing your bounce rate, and reducing your rankings. If your website takes more than 2 seconds to load on a 4G network you need to look at optimisations you can make to improve the load time.
These optimisations could include reducing image sizes, introducing lazy loading, looking at your web hosting and more. Taking steps to reduce your load times should result in an uptick in users on your site, as fewer people bounce due to the slow load time.
Optimising your content for mobile is also essential. Look at font sizes, and heading lengths to determine what can be altered to fit the smaller screen size. While you will want similar content on your mobile site and desktop site, don’t be afraid to make small tweaks to wording to allow something to fit. You can also structure your content differently, putting it in accordions, or behind flip cards to ensure the content on screen doesn’t overwhelm your viewers.
Choosing an adaptive design for mobile
In some cases, it may be better to implement an adaptive design instead of responsive. That refers to making large changes to the design to suit the device. There are three devices you will need to create an adaptive design for, desktop, tablet, and mobile. Under adaptive design you would redesign large elements of the site for each device, these could be image locations, text sizes, ordering of website elements, or more. In some cases, certain elements that appear on one version of the site may not appear on others.
This can also work very well with responsive websites. You can make some elements responsive and heavily tweak others, reducing workload, and allowing the whole website to look great across all three device types.
Optimising for mobile is a vital element of your SEO campaign. Not only does it keep Google happy, but it will also keep your users happy. The best way to rank higher in Google search is to keep your users on your website for longer and to keep them coming back.
If you find yourself stumped as to what you can do to improve the design and performance of your mobile site, come have a chat with our SEO and development experts today.